Saturday, April 12, 2014

Redemption, Recycling and Cycling

I have been wanting to take a picture of this sign for two years. I first saw it on my first trip to Maui. It is alongside a busy highway, however, so it was never opportune to take a picture of it - until yesterday. We rode our bikes to the outskirts of Kahalui and back (for a total of 28 miles), and we passed the sign on the way back.

When I first saw this, I burst out laughing. The reason might not appear immediately obvious, or perhaps wouldn't be funny to others, but it was one of those things that just struck me as hilarious. Mark and I had been discussing Buddhist tenets, and I had recently had opportunity to consider the very real possibility that I had lived former lives (a story for another time). We had furthermore been carrying on an ongoing conversation about the peculiar Christian concept of the need for "redemption" - the need for someone outside of ourselves to "save" us, which is diametrically opposed to the core concepts of Buddhism that teach that "salvation" (enlightenment) comes from within.

So when I saw these two signs together, I laughed and commented to Mark, "Well, I guess the recycling center is for the Buddhists and the redemption center is for the Christians." 

Maybe you had to be there.

For the first time since we arrived, I felt yesterday afternoon that I was finally starting to relax. We were sitting on the beach, the weather was beautiful, the ocean was calm, there was an occasional cool breeze ... it was wonderful. And for the first time, I gave myself permission to just sit and stare at the ocean. That's when I know I'm starting to relax. It takes a few days to get past feeling the need to make "good use of our time," which usually means reading. We have to be "productive." When that feeling starts to slip away, I know that relaxation is on its way.

Our friends Troy and JP (Jean-Pierre) invited us over to their place for dinner last night. They are a gay couple whom we met two years ago (I first wrote about them here), and we ran into them again last fall when we were here, discovering that they had moved to Maui from Victoria, B.C. in the interim. Troy is a licensed marriage officiant in Hawaii, so he is the one who will perform our marriage at sunset next Tuesday, which will be followed by a candlelit supper on the beach, awaiting the rising of the full moon. We specifically designed this to complement an experience we had two years ago during the "super moon" (which I wrote about here). 

We have cycled for the past three days, increasing our mileage from 14 to 18 to 28 miles. Yesterday, we rode from Wailea (see bottom of map below) to Kahului through the low-lying central part of the island. There wasn't any elevation change to speak of, but we had a good stiff head wind all the way to our turn-around point. I was reminded of some Dutch cyclists we met at the Col du Galibier in the French Alps in September 2012: we asked them how they trained for these steep mountain rides, and their response was, "We ride against the wind." Yesterday, I gained a sense of how that works.

This morning, we are going on a 20-mile ride up the coast to Lahaina, where we will have brunch, then cycle the 20 miles back. Tomorrow, all being well, we are going to participate in a supported metric century (66.6 miles) that circumvents the west part of Maui, as shown below. Wish us luck!

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